Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy
Fuel Cell Basics
Hydrogen is Safe
Hydrogen inherently poses no more danger than other conventional fuels, such as gasoline or natural gas. Here are some facts about hydrogen:
Hydrogen is non-toxic, non-poisonous, and will not contaminate groundwater. A release of hydrogen into the air will not contribute to atmospheric pollution.
Hydrogen is 14 times lighter than air and rises at 20 meters per second, which means that it diffuses extremely rapidly. Due this high buoyancy, when released into the air, hydrogen quickly diffuses into a non-flammable concentration.
When compared to hydrocarbon fires, hydrogen fires have much lower levels of radiant heat, greatly reducing the risk of secondary fires.
Hydrogen needs oxygen to burn, meaning that combustion within a hydrogen tank is impossible. In event of a leak, the physical properties of hydrogen would force the gas to quickly diffuse and rise, moving the gas away from the leak.
Because liquid hydrogen must be stored at extremely cold temperatures (below -423 degrees Fahrenheit), today’s storage containers are double-walled, vacuum-jacketed, superinsulated, and designed to vent hydrogen safely in gaseous form if a breach of either the outer or inner wall is detected.
Gasoline and natural gas can be explosive at very low concentration levels, between 1.1-3.3% and 5.7-14% respectively. Unlike these fuels, hydrogen requires a much higher concentration be present as it is explosive at concentrations of 18.3-59%. It is less likely to reach this concentration threshold due to hydrogen’s lightness and rapid diffusion rates.